|Beast of the East.|
In the matchup with 'Nova last Saturday Hardy topped that scoring mark with 34 points in a 81-68 road win at the Pavilion. Right now, he's got to be the front-runner for Big East player of the year with Providence guard Marshon Brooks, (25.1 points per game leads Big East, second in nation), Notre Dame senior guard Ben Hansborough, and Walker being the other considerations. SJU is currently the third ranked team in the Big East (a conference expected to get 11 teams into the NCAA tournament) and has the opportunity for more big wins when the conference tournament starts next week at the Garden. Hardy and St. John's are heading into March Madness with a head of steam, but they're not the only team to watch out for.
Senior guard Jacob Pullen is playing like the first-team Big 12 talent he is late in the season after a rocky start. The Wildcats (21-9, 9-6 Big 12), currently unranked after opening the season ranked No. 5, have two big wins over Kansas and Missouri at home in each of the last two weeks and a 75-70 statement victory over a hungry Texas team in Austin on Monday.
It's not just Jimmer who can hurt you when facing the Cougars. BYU (27-2, 13-1 Mountain West) has crept up to No. 3 in the polls -- the highest ranking in school history -- and Fredette (27.3 points per game, leads nation) gets solid assistance from 6-foot-5 forward Charles Abouo, a swingman that can bang on the boards as well as knock down the open 3, and senior guard Jackson Emery, who has hit four or more 3-pointers in a game eight times this season.
Yeah, the Wildcats did drop two games on the road in the conference over the weekend but there is a well kept secret in Tucson that will come to light come tournament time. Teams better not sleep on Arizona because sophomore forward Derrick Williams is a potential NBA lottery pick who has quietly put together an All-American calibur season. The 6-foot-8 Williams (19.1 points per game, 8.1 rebounds) is an elite athlete who is virtually unguardable. He has notched double figures in scoring in all but one game this year while shooting 61-percent from the field. Words can't say enough, roll footage . . .